Celebrating the small and mighty

Newcastle’s makers and traders add heart and soul to the city landscape.

Part of the diverse tapestry of Newcastle are our independent small businesses. They inject excitement and energy and add a uniqueness to the city’s personality that you just can’t find anywhere else. They are the creatives who have dared to bring a dream to life, and a new project – the Makers and Traders initiative – is helping to show how our city is all the richer for having them.

Making it happen

The group formed in 2019 after Tim McPhee, owner of Abicus on Darby Street, became concerned about the number of businesses closing down. Along with owners from Studio Melt, Monsoon Living, High Tea with Mrs Woo, Timeless Textiles, Estabar, Good Brother, Moor, Pappa Sven, Rundle Tailoring and many more, the new venture began.

The past few years haven’t been easy for retail, with economic concerns, trading disruptions and a lack of recognition of their value. Deciding to band together to support each other through these challenges and to highlight community and sustainability, Makers and Traders has become a tour de force, bringing a new energy into the CBD and encouraging a resurgence of love for buying local.

“When you walk into a small business you’re face-to-face with a business owner who really believes in what they do and they care about your experience, whether it’s buying a piece of clothing or purchasing a piece of art or having a coffee,” Bec Bowie, owner of Newcastle East cafe Estabar, said. “When you get this sense of engagement and that beautiful gift of being seen and being able to sink into a place, I feel it is of huge value.”
The Makers and Traders include fashion and jewellery, lifestyle and homewares, cafes and eateries, as well as galleries and creative spaces.

Read more in the Summer issue of Hunter & Coastal Lifestyle Magazine or subscribe here. 

Story by Judith Whitfield